By Aspire Economic Development + Chamber Alliance
As the 2023 Indiana General Assembly session wrapped up, the state’s biennium budget was passed, with an increase in funding dedicated to the expansion of mental health services.
Authored by Rep. Greg Steuerwald as House Bill 1006 (HEA 1006) and by Sen. Michael Crider as Senate Bill 1 (SEA 1), the policy was designated as a GOP priority. The legislation directs the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) to apply for support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to enhance mental health services across the state.
Recognizing the importance of addressing mental health issues, $100 million has been added to the budget since Governor Eric Holcomb signed it into law. Although the funding plan falls short of what some advocates had pushed for, the Statehouse’s new budget allocates more for mental health services compared to the previous budget cycle.
The legislation will support the creation of various programs, such as:
- the expansion of resources for community mental health clinics
- the establishment of a help line by the Division of Mental Health and Addiction, and
- renaming of the 9-8-8 Crisis Response Center.
The General Assembly aims to create a comprehensive mental health support system that addresses the mental health needs of Indiana’s population while reducing the burden on law enforcement and jails.
The boost in mental health funding will have a more direct and positive impact on Indiana residents and communities. With increased access to better-resourced community behavioral health clinics and professionals, individuals will have better opportunities to seek timely and appropriate care.
Enhanced crisis intervention services such as the Crisis Response Center will help address immediate mental health concerns effectively. By investing in these areas, the General Assembly aims to improve overall mental well-being and ensure that individuals suffering from mental health conditions will receive quality care rather than falling into the corrections system.
While the mental health funding may not have been explicitly directed toward employers, it holds significant relevance for businesses in Indiana. Mental health issues directly impact employee well-being, safety, and stability, which, in turn, affect attendance and productivity.
Employers are increasingly recognizing the importance of employee wellness and its effect on overall business success. By prioritizing mental health services, the General Assembly’s funding boost aligns with this growing trend and Aspire’s workforce development approach.
Aspire recognizes the critical role mental health plays in overall well-being and success, both at work and within the community. Aspire supports initiatives that encourage the development and implementation of mental health support systems like these.
Through its lobbying firm, Torchbearer Public Affairs, Aspire worked to help advance the legislation in the Statehouse aimed at increasing mental health funding.
“Supporting increased access to mental health in Johnson County is a part of Aspire’s foundational principles,” said Sydnee Cseresznyes, director of Government Affairs at Torchbearer Public Affairs.
“We advocated on Aspire’s behalf throughout the legislative session to support and fully fund the efforts of SEA 1 and HEA 1006.”
Aspire’s successful efforts to increase mental health services funding will help address the mental health crisis. The legislature’s new funding will promote the well-being of the workforce and create an environment where residents can live and work knowing their mental health needs will be met.